Sunday, August 19, 2012

Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti Graphics Card - Review by Zotac

Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Zahn Funk
Provided by: Zotac  


During the 2012 CES I started piecing together components for an X79 build to replace my P67/Z68 test rig. I say during because I picked up several components for the build while at the show thanks to some gracious sponsors and the luck of the draw during some party raffles. Once I settled in back at home, I gathered the remaining components needed for the build, save for a couple of items that played hard to get. Cooler Master agreed to send over their new Cosmos II chassis but it was the CPU that ultimately held up the entire process for several weeks. You see, Intel's Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E was a hot commodity up until just a few weeks ago and was sold out everywhere except eBay. I ended up biting the bullet and paying well over retail for the chip, but I couldn't afford to waste any more time waiting for it to come back in stock at retail.

We plan to highlight many of the build components via individual reviews and started with Gigabyte's X79-UD3 motherboard. Today we will be taking a look at a mainstream graphics solution from Zotac, a GeForce GTX 560 Ti. Sure, this isn't the most powerful card on the market but the truth of the matter is I'm not a diehard gamer like many so a more powerful card would likely go to waste. When I build a system, I want something that is extremely fast in day to day use but graphics aren't a major concern. On paper, the Zotac card appears to be a good fit for this type of build and we will find out just how much power it packs shortly when paired with an enthusiast-class system.

The Zotac 560 Ti arrived in the smaller-than-anticipated orange and black box shown above. The company advertises multiple features on the front including the 1024MB of GDDR5 memory, 256-bit memory interface, HDMI support as well as several software suites bundled with the card. Some DirectX 11 information fills the backside.

Included in the retail box is the card itself, two dual 4-pin Molex to 6-pin PCIe power adapters, an HDMI adapter, user manual and software disc.

Below is a complete list of features, borrowed from Zotac's website.

Let's move ahead and have a closer look at this 560 Ti from Zotac.

First Look

Zotac's 560 Ti is constructed on a black PCB that is really only visible from the back of the card. A single centrally-located cooling fan housed in a shroud of sorts keeps temperatures in check. The cooling solution on this card is of the dual-slot variety which is standard for most mainstream and high-end cards these days. The fan shroud is black with yellow accents and features the Zotac name written prominently on the face while the fan blades are more of an orange color.

On the I/O end we find dual DVI connectors, a DisplayPort connector and an HDMI port. The unused real estate is slotted to allow warm air to flow out of the back of your case from the single cooling fan.

The entire unit is 4.37-inches by 8.25-inches, meaning it should fit into almost any standard size chassis and even most micro-ATX systems.

The top of the card reveals the SLI connector and dual 6-pin PCIe power connectors. On the front we can see a hint of the PCB and components underneath the shroud.

It's worth clarifying at this point that this is just one of six 560 Ti cards that Zotac offers. With an 822MHz core and 4000MHz memory clock, it falls into the lower end of available 560s. If you want something with a bit more horsepower, the 560 Ti OC offers a 905MHz core while the AMP! edition ramps things all the way up to 950MHz.

That pretty much concludes the photo tour. Let's move ahead and install the GTX 560 Ti in our test system.

Installation / Overclocking

I installed the Zotac 560 Ti in my new test system using the following hardware configuration:

Intel Core i7-3930K
Gigabyte X79-UD3
Kingston HyperX 8GB (4x 2GB) 2400MHz kit
Noctua NH-D14 SE2011
Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD
Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W PSU
Corsair 800D Full Tower Chassis
3x Noctua NF-F12 fans
NZXT Premium Cable Kit
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The card installed without incident and well, it goes without saying that there was more than enough room in this chassis for the GPU. As you can see, the 560 Ti doesn't even reach the edge of the Gigabyte motherboard. Do note that I had to install the card into a PCIe slot further down the board as the large Noctua heatsink simply takes up too much space near the top slot. This won't affect performance since the slot I am using operates at x16 and if anything, it resulted in a cleaner cable job. This was, of course, aided by the NZXT premium cable kit as well which looks great.

Here we can see the card running at default clocks of 823MHz but with a little coaxing using MSI's Afterburner overclocking software, I was able to find a stable setting of 890Hz, good for nearly 70MHz extra. Whether or not that will transfer into real-world performance remains to be seen.

Temperatures on this card are very respectable, even when overclocked under load. Idle temps were a bit warmer when overclocked but that's not a real concern. Ambient room temperature was kept at 73F throughout testing.

Let's keep going and have a look at our benchmark setup before diving into some results.


I will be using the following programs and games to gauge the Zotac GTX 560 Ti with:

3DMark 2006
3DMark 2011
SiSoft Sandra Video Render
Unigine Heaven
Crysis 2
Far Cry 2

Since this is the first video card we have tested on this new platform, I don't have anything to compare the results to. As such, each test will be run with the 560 Ti at stock clocks and at the previous mentioned 890MHz speed achieved during overclocking. Where applicable, the resolution was set to 1920 x 1080. Below are the results in no particular order. Do note that the difference between the scores often isn't as dramatic as the chart leads you to believe on first glance.

Benchmark testing revealed an average of 3-4 FPS increase in games when overclocked. It's not much, but it's free so there's really no sense in not taking advantage of it. Overall the card was able to handle everything we threw at it. The newest game in our somewhat dated list is Crysis 2 and on Ultra graphics settings at 4x AA, the game was completely playable at nearly 40 FPS.

Let's keep things rolling and move forward with some final thoughts and a conclusion.


Zotac has a really nice mainstream graphics card on their hands with the 560 Ti that we looked at here today. While it's not the fastest or latest generation card on the block, the price is reflective of that while still offering non-hardcore gamers a great product that's capable of playing some of the latest titles with lots of eye candy.

The 560 Ti had no trouble getting up to 890MHz on the core without the need for extra voltage. At this clock speed, temperatures under load only increased by one degree Celsius. Long-term stability testing revealed the single cooling fan did get pretty loud when the rest of the system fans were set to their lowest speed. When all of the other fans were set to max, it wasn't nearly as noticeable.

The overall small footprint of this card will allow you to install it in any number of systems including micro-ATX cases. Do note that it will occupy one additional slot for the cooling system.

Aesthetically speaking, the black and yellow fan shroud and orange fan blades look really nice. Fortunately there aren't any gaudy LEDs to contend with that might otherwise throw off you interior case lighting or lack of.

Connectivity options are aplenty with two DVI connectors, an HDMI port and a DisplayPort connector at the rear of the card. There's also an exhaust vent here but don't expect it to do too much as the centrally-located fan probably won't blow too much air its way.

The bundle was pretty light with this card but otherwise, I wasn't able to find anything that I disliked about Zotac's offering outside of the cooling fan. It performs well, runs cool, has a small footprint and I was able to squeeze a bit more out of it via overclocking - all positives in my book.

I was able to find this particular model (50301-10M) at AVA Direct for $264.43 although it was currently out of stock. Note that there are six different 560 Ti cards from Zotac ranging from around $229 up to $269 with various clock speeds and bundles.

About Dilips Techno Blog

A Daily Blog for Latest Reviews on Technology | Gadgets | Mobile | Laptop | Software and Hardware Reviews | Social Media | Games | Hacking and security | Tips and Tricks | Many more....

Dilips Techno Blog

Dilips Techno Blog